fish, don’t die

i fed the fish swimming through
the blurriness of the morning viewed
through a window obscured by
my sighs

the rain you bring in this room always
half-chokes my hearing
to a muffled vacuum

where do you go?

i forgot how the shore’s breath
tastes like, how
the sweetness of music pounding, swaying
the milks of my heart
felt like

when i lean my face against the glass
i see the back of your silhouette walking
a murky path to
only you can know where—

did you just shrug?

i tap your shoulder
only the glass squeaks

where is your hand
when i dance through sakura trees, piano keys
tickling the falling petals, daffodils
floating around me

i’ve never seen spring bloom in
our room after all, so i
learned to love the rain

have you ever smelled
what they’ve all smelled?—
the vase of roses
i always wear

you must be made of dream material
i am just pink-painted porcelain—
skipping beneath
the feet of you and your fellow giants
playing chess, or
watching tv


Follow me on instagram: @nele_ponce
I have some poetry in there.

How to become an adult?

Until today when a friend presented me with this question, I’ve always dismissed it into a pile of those questions I care little to ponder over. Though when pondered over, it’s easy to fall into a superficial way of thinking into it. That is, many of us frame the idea of adulthood with clearly observable things–things like age, income, possessions, occupation, or responsibilities. But framing adulthood in this way often comes from those who lack these tangible things. It comes from people who wish to possess them when in fact, many of those who actually possess some of these things, perceivably having become adults, still don’t feel like adults. Of course, some find relief in simply not meddling with the label at all, caring little for where they are in the spectrum of adulthood (if there is such a thing). But I wonder, why does and should it matter?

In retrospect, labels can be self-earned badges that are necessary as rewards for the hurdles we’ve gone through. They become more vivid as we walk through the stages of life, and especially within our liminal periods where we’ve graduated from one label and have yet to adopt the next. It minimizes confusion, and gives us a sense of identity. At the same time, however, they can be limiting and can screen us from seeing alternatives. By finding a label to identify ourselves with, we become less open to the possibilities of other labels, further narrowing our world-views. In that sense, labels can be self-detrimental. It is thus important to loosely label ourselves–we label for the sake of minimizing confusion while allowing ourselves to be open to alternative possibilities (in fact I have yet to find a greater virtue than open-mindedness).

Now comes the question: what is an adult?

I’ve recently felt the pulsating rush of adulthood when I finally received my official license in the mail. It is not because I felt that I am finally one of those members of society with important places to go and so requires their own personal vehicle to get to those places (I truly think that the entire concept of necessitating a personal vehicle is superfluous and consumeristic). Rather, it was that sense of leaping forward from a lower ground to a higher one; of leaving something behind me and then starting the new path ahead of me. The path that opened with all the possibilities of what I had just accomplished, and that opened me to new, different, experiences. Not just new experiences, but new experiences that I must face alone, where I must let go of holding hands with anyone I was dependent on in order to progress (a fleeting thought: progression into . . .? Death? Perhaps all the excitement of approaching adulthood comes from a sense of uniting with death, a state of ambiguity and loneliness. I do not know if I speak of truth or mere poetics).

I felt a layer of weight remove when I got my first job too. It was that sense of independence; like I had taken off that puffy winter jacket my mother gave me that kept me warm and comfortable, but hindered my movement. Oh yes, and when I lost my virginity, where the rush of adulthood I felt didn’t necessarily come from a sense of letting go of something. Rather, it was more prospective than retrospective. It came from knowing that I had thrown myself into a new, frightening realm full of uncertainties; a pool of inevitable mistakes. But rather than it frightening me, it excited me. I will venture into this ambiguous new world I know nothing about, I will fuck up several times, and when I come out, I will have become wiser.

Therefore, adulthood breathes from this feeling of becoming wiser from difficulty and ambiguity. And from becoming wiser, we ourselves grow stronger. The world outside of ourselves become more vast, more uncertain, and more uncontrollable the more we know about it and the more we experience it; however, we gain better control of own ourselves and our own emotions. We harden and solidify in resistance to a fast-moving river of other liquids, other substances.

Adulthood then is not this comprehensive state of being that we achieve after reaching a finish line. It is not something that we become, as again, it is not a singular state of being; it is something we become more like. That is, we can only become more like a perfect adult, which exists only in Plato’s world of perfect forms. I don’t think anyone has achieved full and perfect adulthood. Instead, it is a marathon that never ends, and is perfectly fine without a conceivable end. And it is a marathon that should be enjoyed throughout the run.

diary entry 1/5/17

I’ve long come to a happy conclusion—several contemplations and philosophical self-inquiries later—that love is something you can feel only if you’ve learned to love yourself. This is obvious to many, and inevitable realization of life at least for those who meditate on the idea of love and the self and such matters. We realize that love is the end-result of a sense of independence and an awareness of your own needs and interests, like a squiggly line that straightens to a single, perfect, end point that twinkles. That love cannot be formed in whole if it was attempted to be made with only half; rather, love should exist as a whole before it experiences shared love. In other words, you shouldn’t try to find your other half in anyone else when your other half should already be filled with your own richness. It’s a simple concept, so much so that it’s overwhelmingly attractive.

I wonder, is it truly as simple as that? I’m not too sure anymore. How is it that I still feel pain for this love, even though I already love myself? At least I think I love myself. I’m sure I do. Or I’ve convinced myself that I do. I thought I did. Do I not truly? Maybe I don’t…

I still have unfulfilled regrets lingering after all, which cling on my back like a lightly heavy weight, which I’m not sure how to remedy, and which still remain a part of who I am. I’ve done many things that I take great pride in and that the old me would feel safe with knowing. Many redeeming self-improvements and experiences that might have erased my regrets. Yet, it seems, I have yet to redeem myself to myself, and the weight on my back has not dropped to the ground. I still walk with a slight limp, and still slightly slower than if the weight were off my back. I do not love myself entirely after all.

I can’t deny, however, that the love that I feel with William is in fact love. I feel it. I feel that it is true love; its own intensity the only proof I need to claim its validity. I feel it with the warmth in my heart when I imagine him smiling, or walking with his hands in his coat pockets, or slumping his shoulders, giving himself an aura of apathy, or when his half-closed eyes look lazily downwards at me. When I imagine all these—which have recently been blurred by my own latest problems and insecurities—I realize that I’ve been forgetting how to love.

I realize, just this instant, that it was not the world around me that had gone mad, which might have threatened the simple formula for the ultimate realization involving the experience of love: love yourself before you can love others. I needed not to engage in another extensive philosophical analysis in order to reconfigure the universal formula, for doing so would be reconfiguring it to my own insecurities (In fact, the gears and cogs within my brain were already logically sorting out the beginnings of a new theory which would undermine the original formula—most of which have already evaporated from my recollection). Instead, it was me who had momentarily gone mad from an old insecurity incited from a series of small incidents, and everything else in my life had coincidentally jumbled up in concert.

I might have to contradict myself by saying that perhaps I still do love myself. Perhaps I had only forgotten to love myself for a moment. Though I am still insecure (which I’ve just now learned about myself and now acknowledge), and I still bear the aforementioned regrets that weigh me down slightly, I love who I am nonetheless. I only hate my circumstances. Especially my recent circumstances. I’ve been really quite unhappy with these circumstances.

But I don’t think that they are circumstances impossible to fix, or at least get out of, as long as I have now acknowledged that I myself have still ways to grow and improve. I still have more about myself that I can love, all of which are still waiting for me to get there.

I’ve been angry (and still am) with William, with my relationships, and my circumstances because I thought I had my life comfortably sorted out. I was safe in all these expectations, and I fell too into the entire romance of my life that when they collapsed, I became lost. (It’s funny how I had to relearn everything I have just realized tonight. I had written numerous things about these same matters, and had given myself these lessons already. And yet, they had become so easily forgotten when my emotions become overblown and boil all the logic floating around my head.)

a million thoughts i can’t sort out

I can’t sleep. It’s as if I’d drank coffee within four hours before bedtime. And I don’t normally have trouble sleeping; in fact, I sleep almost an instant I decide to close my eyes. But this time, I can’t sleep.

I’m thinking about a number of different things. I’m thinking about William, and what to make of what we are and what he is. I’m thinking about my manager who tried to make me pay for the pizza I made for myself, although I had no money at all and had intended to make the pizza my only meal for today. I’m thinking about all the possible places I could work, and why Brandy Melville will never know what they’re missing out on because they’re only going to be judging me from my photos. I’m thinking about that girl who has nine hundred followers on her instagram and on each of her photos she’s with at least two other people. About how she probably would’ve gotten hired at Brandy Melville had she actually cared about wearing the right clothes, with pretty patterns and skimpy cuts. How I could have been her when I went to high school. About how mad I am for not having lived then. Lived the way I could’ve when it was truly so easy.

And my eyes, oh how they ‘re screeching to close.

But I’m thinking about William. I’m thinking about where he’ll be five, ten, years from now without me beside him. About the time we spent together during New Years Eve at the beach, on the rocks, watching fireworks. I’m thinking about how, when I hold his hand, or when I touch his face, or when I’m on top of him, I feel like I never want to be anywhere else, because no where else will I ever feel as home as with him. I’m thinking about my dear friend Mary–oh God I love her–and our coffee morning together two days with updates on our daily lives, because we’ve been slacking on hanging out. How, because of me she’s now talking to George, and I’m so happy for it. I’m thinking about the Double Slit Theory and the mysteries of the Bermuda Triangle and Flatland and the Four-Dimensional World. And then tesseracts–merely shadows of the fourth dimension. I’m thinking about how I had slipped up last night, and for the first time in an imperceivable while, I had been inconsiderate, narrow-minded, and mean. I’m thinking about William. About how, perhaps four, five, six months, maybe a little over a year from now, one morning he’ll have evaporated into thin air from my embrace. Because that’s just his nature. I’m thinking about the idea of love. Whether or not William is even capable of it. And I’m mad! Mad that he can’t love as richly as I can, and yet still love greatly, in his own damn stupid empty way. But I’m just sad. I can’t do anything about anything.

By now my eyes might have slightly adjusted to the tiredness and allowed itself to open, albeit lazily.

I’m thinking about neuroplasticity, and the brain’s ability to change from our day-to-day doings. I’m thinking about how I still need to get a damn license, and a damn car. I’m thinking about how fucking broke I am that I rely on the food at work for my diet. I’m thinking about Kent State University and fashion design and my plans to live in Ohio for a year without going to school, just working. About all my expenses, and all the money that I don’t know I’ll be able to have. About the possibility of living in a van instead. And then I think about that future without William. I think about how alone I am, how lonely I am, and how I will never ever find another William. I’m thinking about my friend Alex, and how I might’ve been taking him for granted recently. How I’ve been so aggressive and inconsiderate with him. I’m thinking about stupid and pathetic I am. I am inadequate–I’ve forgotten what that feels like. I’m thinking about how the one who will give me a wedding ring might be some other brunette haired man wearing some unfamiliar suit. And how William might be somewhere else, living in an apartment instead of his van, doing things related to music. And I don’t know what to make of that. But I love him. I love him with all my heart and in every sense of the word. I fucking love him.

I’m scared, I’m mad, I’m sad, I’m frustrated, I’m annoyed, I’m confused, I’m curious, I can’t sleep.

fucking up the socializing game

I feel as if I’ve made a game out of socializing. It is as if every time I end the game, I end up with a high score each time. Like a really high score. I’ve developed routines: smile genuinely, listen carefully, laugh a good amount of times at the right times, and give utter sincerity. Sometimes I give a little punch, or a little pat on the shoulder to show affection. Maybe banter a bit. Express a slight annoyance at their insignificant errs that is at the same time playful. Never get angry; instead, give direction through play and by example. Most of all, never act. Be genuine.

All that’s great and all, but again: routine. I win and I win again, by doing the same exact things. It got old and empty and somewhat boring. I then became less willing to socialize. Conversations were dull and pointless. I talked less. So in fact, I started acting. I told the same story I told the last person, which I told to the next person, attempting to tell it with the same tone of voice and animated movements each time. Socializing started to become a chore, and I was only doing it out of habit; out of at least maintaining the status-quo with regards to how much people have affection for me. Then that grew old and empty and boring. It felt as if was I experiencing a little less of life.

I’ve realized, however, that I was too comfortable winning, and I’ve forgotten that winning isn’t all there is to life. I should fuck around with life. Win a different way. Or don’t win, that’s fine. There is too much sense in winning. Fuck it all up so that there is no sense. Play games within the game.

For instance, when their talk gets dull, I might laugh and say, “You are so strange,” just to confuse them. I might use a different accent for some stranger I meet–my waiter, maybe. I might pronounce a word in a sentence wrong, and then let them correct me, and then argue with them. When they try to argue about something trivial, I might start talking about fjord horses, and gay earrings, and leprechauns shitting skittles, just to frustrate them. Well see the thing is, when Nietzsche dreams, he dreams about Morgan Freeman giving him a unicorn in heaven, which then gallops him across a rainbow to get to a pot of golden dildos. Freud would have much to say about that. 

Perhaps a little too extreme (I can already see you furrowing your eyebrows). So if I’m trying to be a bit more serious, I might argue, but I won’t argue with the same concepts and subjects, I will argue instead with metaphors. As many as I can possibly use. You just can’t put pineapples on my pizza. That’s like putting nutella on a taco. Nutella is great. I love nutella. But I love it alone. I also love it on ice cream and crepes. Nutella on something like crepes is like wearing vertical stripes if you’re short, they just compliment each other. I’ve never liked arguing too much anyway (no one ever gets anywhere with it).

the too familiar cave

I thrive only in a world lit by sunrise; old lurks within a tunnelled cave where I have to sleep. In my nightmares, the familiar knocks insistently on my room too forcefully to remind me of nothing, until the tunnel collapses on itself, and the taut darkness suffocates me. Oh, how I dread raging only for the sake of raging. Rage only cries in the darkness, which makes me afraid of where I sleep. I detest this cave—I know it too well. I am much too familiar with the man who has lived his life in regret and lives the rest of it in stupid compensation. Who stains his life with anger, and insists it on mine. But smiles too quick when either chance or deceit lets him see a twinkle of love in the dark. I’ve hated looking at the woman who lives her life unaware that her suffering comes from choosing the road most travelled. Who lives, as if she were still that woman the time she chose which road. They know nothing of the skies, the trees, the river, or the road lit by my sunrise. And so in their darkness, I can never will myself to smile. I rage, only for the sake of raging—it’s what I’ve known best to do in the face of darkness.

love in ultimation

At a dark corner of an confined barn sat a man, frailed and rotted, whose face had long melted into a somber countenance characterized with glaring eyes that plotted only malice. As if a fly that readies to taste its food while it rapidly rubs together its needle-sharp hands. Whatever remaining love he possessed for those that went on about their lives so contently─those that had been fortunate enough to be able to unjustifiably commingle as an ignorant mass, oblivious of the pain occurring to him, and of all that occurring before him─had surely been subsumed by a compellingly morbid yet practically vain passion to inflict pain on all those that wronged him.

What once was a serene purl of worldly contentedness and inner peace that embodied the nature of his sanity, had now rushed into raging, and raging, and raging waterfalls that struck heavily down on Earth with jaw-gripping wrath, where forgiveness and all that is love and all that is beauty has become completely alien.

And it was at this very moment that his life had already ended, as life becomes obsolete when love is muted.

He looked to his kin huddling together on the ground in same-rooted anger, yet tirelessly, perseveringly, whispered vespers with comically foolish hope in their collective darkness, during the only time of day where the root of cruelty sleeps, as death is merely one of nature’s coquettes playing its trivial games.

All that he believed to be good only dissembled validity─nature knows no good or bad. Nature is, and does what it does. It never actually considered his significance─significance!, he concluded in his state of enlightened agony, is only created!

How laughable humans are. How laughable my life is. We are nothing, and I am nothing. Utterly and ultimately nothing. He sat isolated in the shadowed corner, with breathing that grew increasingly heated─a boiling cauldron almost overbrimming with such inevitable frustration impossible to quell.

Death is nothing───it was as if in this moment that he had transcended his humanity, as he had soon broken his tense silence with a barbaric bellow that rang throughout the dimmed barn, grabbing the horseshoe laying on the ground beside him to chuck it at one of the armed guards. Alas, although he had begun running with all his debilitated might towards the other, his desperate screams were only silenced by loud rapid gunshots. Like an idiot rat in roadkill. And the car went on with its tasks, as if it had only experienced a piddling bump on the road.

truth is a black hole

Truth in its absolute form is a black hole. It consists of the All, and what All truly is, in its utter entirety. It pulls me in, like a faint magnet, whenever words become nothing but sounds. Like music. Music which plays over a void of nothingness—a nothingness that is truly All.

We prance around the surface of Truth in ignorance—a willing ignorance, as we are too distracted by our world of noise. We watch the music above the ground so much that we never see that the ground we step on is a black so deep and so empty. A sight devoid of all life and any meaning. I know because I saw it.

Curiosity tripped me, and I accidentally saw it. So I rushed to pick myself back up and continued to walk among those who play their sounds. Among those who dwell within the music of life. Because I am afraid that if I were to fall into the depths of this hole, I might implode and reach lethal and life-ending insanity.

Life is much too valuable for blackness; it must be lived in colorful ignorance instead. Truth is Life’s greatest fear, for if Life met Truth, Life would cease to exist.